Senior Stephen Barton (Miami,
Fla.) blasted a dramatic two-out, two-run
homer in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift Florida (27-28/9-20 SEC) to an 8-7 victory
over LSU (34-21/13-16 SEC) on Friday night at McKethan
Stadium. After the Tigers grabbed a 7-6 lead in the top of the frame, the
Gators were down to their last out before senior Chris Woods (Gainesville,
Fla.) laced a single into
left field to keep the frame alive.
3-1 count from senior Will Harris, Barton smashed the offering over the
right-field fence to help UF even the series and prevent the Bayou Bengals from clinching a berth in next week’s Southeastern
Conference Tournament. It was the second round-tripper of the year for Barton,
who made a winner of senior Darren O’Day (Jacksonville,
Fla.), who improved to 3-2.
After collecting a save in the series opener, Harris dropped to 1-2. The teams
will play the rubber game of the series tomorrow at 4 p.m. The contest, to be
aired live as the SEC Game of the Week, will be preceded by Senior Day
6-4 and down to its final out, LSU rallied for two runs in the ninth to tie the
score at 6-6. Sophomore Michael Hollander delivered a one-out single, prompting
pitching change. O’Day took over on the hill for
sophomore Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, Ga.)
(2.1, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER) and walked freshman J.T. Wise. With Hollander on
second and freshman pinch runner Chris McGhee at first, O’Day
whiffed senior slugger Quinn Stewart for the second out. An error on senior
Matt Liuzza’s grounder allowed Hollander to score and
junior Steven Waguespack knotted the game at six runs apiece with a bullet up
Jarred Bogany began the 10th with a hard liner off
junior shortstop Adam Davis (Fort Myers, Fla.)
that bounced into the outfield, resulting in the runner at second. A fly ball
to center by Harris nudged Bogany to third and senior
Bruce Sprowl poked a single through the drawn-in
infield to put the Tigers on top, 7-6.
LSU had jumped
out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning against senior Bryan Ball (Punta Gorda, Fla.)
by sending nine batters to the plate. Sprowl opened
the game with a single into right field and moved into scoring position on a
one-out base-knock by Wise. A fielding error on Stewart’s grounder loaded the
bases and senior Matt Liuzza punched an RBI single
into right field to bring across Sprowl. Waguespack
earned a free pass from Ball to score Wise before the right-hander responded
with a strikeout of sophomore Jordan Mayer. Ball plunked Bogany,
bringing home Stewart, to give the Tigers a 3-0 advantage and then stranded the
runners by having Harris ground out.
answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, courtesy of an
RBI single by junior Matt LaPorta (Port
things off with an infield hit and advanced on a balk by junior Clay Dirks. LaPorta grooved a 2-0 pitch through the left side to pick
up his 37th RBI. Hollander belted a solo homer with two down in the fourth to
give LSU a 4-1 lead. The dinger was his fifth of the campaign and landed in the
Florida exploded for four-straight hits in
the fifth and evened the contest at 4-4. Davis and junior Brian Jeroloman (Wellington, Fla.)
began the stanza with consecutive singles, giving the Gators runners on the
corners with none out. LaPorta collected his second
RBI of the contest with a double down the left-field line to narrow the gap to
4-2 and junior Gavin Dickey (Tallahassee, Fla.)
sliced a run-scoring single into left to put the hosts’ third run on the board.
Soon after, a fielder’s choice by junior David
Cash (Odessa, Fla.) plated LaPorta
with the tying run. Cash moved into scoring position with his third theft of
the year and McArthur drew a two-out walk before Dirks uncorked a wild pitch to
push Cash to third. The southpaw caught junior Chris Petrie (Jacksonville,
Fla.) looking on strikes to
keep the contest tied.
Wise to begin the seventh and was replaced by Edmondson. In his 55th career
start, matching Marc Valdes (1991-93) atop Florida’s career list, Ball allowed six hits
and four runs (three earned) in six-plus innings. The right-hander totaled
three strikeouts, issued three walks and hit two batters. Edmondson did his
part by setting down the first three Tigers he faced.
Florida moved in front on Jeroloman’s fourth sacrifice fly of the season in the home
part of the seventh. Barton deposited a leadoff double in between a pair of
outfielders and Davis
legged out a bunt for runners on the corners. Jeroloman
lofted a sac fly to right to give the Gators a 5-4 lead and end the evening for
Dirks (6.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 6 K, 1 BB). LaPorta tallied
his third hit with a single into left off junior Jonathan Wilhite
but the reliever induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play by Dickey.
chopper by Woods in the eighth off junior Daniel Forrer
scored Cash from second base, resulting in a 6-4 lead for the Gators. Cash had
led off with a four-pitch walk from Wilhite (0.2 IP,
1 H, 1 R), who was lifted in favor of Forrer.
Sophomore Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.)
laid down a sacrifice bunt to push Cash to second and Woods’ hustle and
head-first slide at first not only beat the throw, but enabled his teammate to
cross the dish. Barton extended the inning with a base-hit past diving Tiger
first baseman Mayer, advancing Woods to third. Forrer
ground out to hold LSU’s deficit at two runs.
Florida held a 15-11 edge in hits, led by a
season-best four hits from LaPorta (4-for-5, two
collected three hits for the second-straight game and was 3-for-5 with two runs
and the hero Barton was 3-for-5 with two RBI and a couple of runs. Four
different Tigers collected two hits.